# Ellipses...

So, I feel that my ability to correctly draw an ellipse in perspective is chock full o’ suck (not really, I just really wanted to say “chock full o’ suck” in a post) and I would like to improve. During school, my beginning drawing classes were taught by well-intentioned grad students and sometimes the basics weren’t covered as well as they could be. As a result, I feel like there are more tricks to learn and I am curious if anyone can point me to a resource where I can learn more. I can draw a box and make the ellipse touch all four sides and all that jazz, but I am looking for exercises to help push the skillset. I know it’s asking a lot, but I can’t be the only one on here who feels that they couldn’t be just a little bit better than they are now. Muchas Gracias.

box is a good place to start,

However for me what really helped me understand was drawing them from the construction of an elipses minor and major axes.

Hard to explain without pictures

but it is how car designers draw their elipses. I learnt the technique from scott robertson, his basic dawing techniques.

Seriously once i understood this (hours and hours of drawing the buggers) i found i could spot and draw a correct elipse in any orientation.

I did the Scott Robertson stuff too, very helpful. Maybe I just have something in my head about it that makes it feel different. I can draw boxes all day long with no issues but when it comes to ellipses, it doesn’t “feel” the same. Hmm… maybe I have ellipseopia.

There are two parts of the problem: knowing how the ellipse should be made for a given angle and the actual physical execution of the thing. I think you are asking about the later.

I am not a natural at drawing ellipses, but here are a few things that help me:

Practice: pretty obvious, but can’t be said enough. If you aren’t drawing several pages of them every day, then there is really no other tip you need. Practicing ellipses in isolation is totally different than just practicing them in your regular drawing. Do them quickly (draw a line for the minor axes) – no box for quick practice).

Elbows: what is your elbow doing? try thinking not thinking about your hand and concentrate on your elbow, it should be making a continuous motion (easier to feel on large ellipses, of course). This will get you “drawing from your shoulder”.

Work with what you have: nothing will make an ellipse suck more than trying to make it perfect. It will probably come out stilted, overworked, and will draw attention to itself. Hand-drawn ellipses are NOT perfect. Find a decent drawing with freehand ellipses in it. Scrutinize it – the ellipses are frequently less perfect than you would expect, but they are correctly oriented and drawn fluidly and work well in conjunction with the entire drawing. Frequently they are incomplete or one area of the ellipse is much lighter than the rest – the viewer’s eye tends to fill in the rest more accurately than a hand does.

My ellipses were always a little off until I remembered that I wasn’t drawing them with the minor axis lining up with the perspective line going to the vanishing point. When I started doing this, things looked fine (although we all need consistent ellipse practice).

Just buy a good set of ellipses – they will improve your sketching more than anything else.

All very good suggestions. I have been doing all of the above for years, as I started as a fine arts major and everything was drawn from the elbow. I guess what I am looking for is some kind of tutorial for all things ellipse. I should probably clarify my request further as I have a tendency to not be very clear in speech. Does anyone have any forms besides basic cylinders (something like wheels, turbine engines, etc.) that, if mastered, really help. I just haven’t really seen any tutorials besides the standard “draw a box in perspective and touch all four sides” tutorials. I have had this problem before I even knew what ID was. Any ideas?